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Turkish politicians tried by video-link

by John Hunt in Turkey

TWO Kurdish politicians appeared in court in south-east Turkey yesterday via videolink from a prison 550 miles away.

The images and voices of Diyarbakir Mayor Gultan Kisanak and Sebahat Tuncel, co-leader of the DBP party affiliated to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (HDP), were beamed to the court in Malatya from Kandira maximum security prison.

Ms Kisanak faces 41 indictments mainly concerning speeches made between 2011 and 2014.

Ms Tuncel’s  charges also relate to speeches, along with the evidence of an anonymous witness who has never appeared in court.

“I want to appear in person and present my defence case by case,” Ms Kisanak told the judge in her sixth hearing since her detention last year. “I have done nothing I have regretted in my entire life.”

Her case was prepared by the Diyarbakir court which has so far failed to present tangible evidence to the Malatya court.

Her defence believes both cases were prepared by police and judges who have themselves since been arrested for alleged links to US-harboured preacher Fethullah Gulen and last year’s failed coup attempt.

“You don't trust these people but are using their evidence,” declared Ms Kisanak.

“In Diyarbakir, a city of two million, the elected representatives have been replaced by a commissioner appointed by the state. Without local democracy there can be no democracy,” she added.

“There were no women mayors before we fought for this. This trial is also an attack on women’s participation.”


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